The Lady Icers are presently ranked 11th and need to crack the top eight to make it to nationals, which will be held March 8th-12th in Wooster, OH. In order to evaluate their chances of doing so, here are the teams ranked 5th through 11th - the tournament bubble - with their schedules between the January 27th poll (the last one before nationals bids are handed out) and d-day on February 17th.
5. Liberty (14-9-1-0 ACHA, 152 poll points)
January 28th/29th at Penn State, L 1-5/W 3-2
February 2nd/3rd vs. Robert Morris (IL), W 2-1/L 1-2
February 4th/5th vs. Rhode Island, L 1-2/L 0-1
February 11th/12th vs. Raleigh Women's Team, results unavailable
While those last two games will probably remain unreported, they're not ACHA games and won't have too much impact on things. Despite recent stumbles (against top teams, it should be noted), the Flames are probably safe booking a hotel in Ohio.
6. Massachusetts (8-10-2-1 ACHA, 143 poll points)
January 27th/28th vs. Minnesota, L 1-3/L 0-5
January 30th at Northeastern, W 2-0
Feburary 10th/11th vs. Penn State, L 1-2/T 3-3
I'll put this out there: UMass is the most likely team to fall out and create an opening for the Lady Icers. While they do have wins over each of the current top five this season, they're the only team in this post with a losing ACHA record. And now, they have a loss and a tie against a team that would love to take their place in Wooster.
7. Minnesota (14-6-0-0 ACHA, 127 poll points)
January 27th/28th at Massachusetts, W 3-1/W 5-0
January 28th at Northeastern, W 5-2
January 29th at Rhode Island, L 3-4
February 4th/5th vs. Colorado, W 12-1/W 6-4
February 11th/12th vs. Wisconsin, L 1-4/W 4-2
For as much good as the Gophers have done in recent weeks, a clunky (and not even close) loss against a bad Wisconsin team might cost them dearly. Minnesota did bounce back to win the next day though, and it's hard to disregard their previous track record.
8. Michigan (15-9-2-1 ACHA, 104 poll points)
January 27th/28th vs. Michigan State, L 0-3/W 1-0
February 10th vs. Grand Valley State (CCWHA playoffs), W 5-2
February 10th vs. Western Michigan (CCWHA playoffs), W 7-1
February 11th vs. Robert Morris (IL) (CCWHA playoffs), L 0-2
February 11th vs. Michigan State (CCWHA playoffs), W 2-1
February 12th vs. Robert Morris (IL) (CCWHA playoffs), L 0-3
Michigan solidified their spot at nationals with a run to the CCWHA final that included an upset of no. 1 Michigan State. I'd be stunned if the Wolverines don't make it.
9. Grand Valley State (14-13-3-0 ACHA, 97 poll points)
January 27th/28th vs. Colorado State, W 5-0/W 8-0
February 4th/5th at Michigan State, L 1-3/L 1-2
February 10th vs. Michigan (CCWHA playoffs), L 2-5
February 10th vs. Robert Morris (IL) (CCWHA playoffs), L 0-3
February 11th vs. Western Michigan (CCWHA playoffs), W 9-0
10. Ohio State (15-10-2-2 ACHA, 93 poll points)
January 28th/29th at Northern Michigan, W 7-1/W 4-0
February 4th/5th vs. Western Michigan, W 3-0/W 5-2
February 10th vs. Miami (CCWHA playoffs), W 5-2
February 10th vs. Northern Michigan (CCWHA playoffs), W 9-2
February 11th vs. Michigan State (CCWHA playoffs), L 3-4 (OT)
February 11th vs. Robert Morris (IL) (CCWHA playoffs), L 1-4
Taking GVSU and OSU together, I really think Penn State got what it needed out of the CCWHA tournament with respect to these two teams. The Lakers flamed out, and while the Buckeyes had a better run that included extending MSU to overtime, they still didn't come away with a quality win.
11. Penn State (9-6-1-0 ACHA, 83 poll points)
January 28th/29th vs. Liberty, W 5-1/L 2-3
February 3rd/4th at Northeastern, W 4-2/L 1-2
February 10th/11th at Massachusetts, W 2-1/T 3-3
I said last week that the Lady Icers needed a sweep. They didn't get that, but they did get the next best thing. Will it be enough? My head and my heart disagree on that answer; I'll leave it at that.
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